'Shame' to fell cedars at social housing complex - resident

Five large cedar trees are to be felled at Aorangi Courts in Bryndwr, and replaced with native...
Five large cedar trees are to be felled at Aorangi Courts in Bryndwr, and replaced with native trees. Photo: Supplied
A Christchurch social housing resident is feeling deflated after finding out five large cedar trees, which once provided the units with a sense of tranquillity and shelter, will be felled.

Garry Roberts, who has lived at Aorangi Courts in Bryndwr for about five years in a unit next to the cedars, is confused as to why the more than 50-year-old trees were not just pruned back.

“I really believe the trees would benefit from a good trim – just taking off a third of the top and a prune back of the overhanging branches, not a full felling. It will change the character of the area,” said Roberts.

But Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust chief executive Cate Kearney said trimming the trees could prove problematic.

“We were advised by an arborist that significant pruning could destabilise the trees,” she said.

“We’ve asked our tree maintenance contractor to remove them and to replace them with native species.

“We hope the new trees and the amenity they’ll provide will add to our community well into the future.”

Garry Roberts.
Garry Roberts.
Roberts said “it seemed a shame” that the trees were being felled as they protected the units and their inhabitants against elements such as wind, rain and the sun, and if the trees were to be preserved and looked after, they would be “a good something to pass on to the next generation.”

“Cutting the cedars down is not just about the trees, it’s about the nature and wildlife that comes from having them too.”

Built in the late 1970s, the Aorangi Courts complex consists of 18 single-story units, four ground-floor units, and four top-floor units, which are owned by the city council and leased to Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust.

“Council staff contacted us to discuss removing the trees at the request of the Waimāero Fendalton-Waimari-Harewood Community Board, following a public forum presentation to the board by Aorangi Courts neighbours,” said Kearney.

TreeTech Specialist Tree Care Ltd began felling the trees last Monday and the work is expected to take two weeks, depending on the weather.

It will include the removal of the trees, stump grinding, tidying up, and replanting, as well as follow-up works to remedy any damage caused to lawns and gardens.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
While two neighbours have opposed the tree felling, Roberts said the majority of neighbours living at the courts reacted positively or apathetically when he spoke to them.

“Someone wanting to buy a property or those wanting to sell may want to get rid of the cedars and I’m not disputing anyone’s views but there is a balance.

“Right now, I feel this is quite a poor effort. A bit underhanded. It seems like taking the easy option,” said Roberts.

“The trees make me happy – even on a not-nice day, I wake up to them and nature and it makes me feel good. I cannot stress how important the connection between nature and mental health is.

“Most of us at the courts are trying to push s**t up the hill and when you have an idyllic space with trees, ducks, hedgehogs, butterflies, and four to five feedable doves, it helps.”